New Delhi: In a rare move, the railways has prematurely retired 32 of its officers above the age of 50 years in "public interest" on grounds of inefficiency, doubtful integrity and conduct unbecoming of a public servant as part of a periodic review, according to a statement.
The only time in recent history when the railways undertook such a move was in 2016-17 when four officers were prematurely retired.
Railways said the move was aimed at improving efficiency and strengthening administrative machinery at all levels.
"Recommendations of the review committee were submitted to the respective competent authorities who approved the same. 1,780 officers were considered for review and out of which 32 were recommended for retirement," railways said.
Twenty-two among them were directors and above level officers, officials said.
Periodic review of those attaining a certain age is part of the service rules of government employees, but rarely are they prematurely retired, according to officials.
"In Railway Board, the last exercise from Group A officers was undertaken in 2016-2017, when services of 1,824 officers were reviewed and out of the same, four officers were prematurely retired. It was also found that a number of officers due for review were not reviewed," the railways said.
The process is still underway in zonal railways for JAG and non-gazetted staff, it said.
On Thursday, in a reply to a query in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Personnel, Jitendra Singh said over 220 corrupt government employees, including 96 senior officials, had been given premature retirement in the last five years.
During the period from July 2014-October 2019, provisions of Fundamental Rules or FR 56(j) have been invoked against a total number of 96 Group 'A' officers and 126 Group 'B' officers of different ministries and departments, Singh had said in a written reply.
The FR 56(j) gives absolute right to the government to retire government officials prematurely on the ground of lack of integrity and ineffectiveness, in public interest.
"The provisions under FR 56(j) also to ensure improving efficiency in government," he said.